12 August 2016
The inaugural issue of “Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch” was published in April 1988 – over a year before the first edition of the ABC TV Media Watch program went to air. Since November 1997 “Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch” has been published as part of The Sydney Institute Quarterly. In 2009 Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch Dog blog commenced publication.

The inaugural issue of “Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch” was published in April 1988 – over a year before the first edition of the ABC TV Media Watch program went to air. Between November 1997 and October 2015 “Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch” was published as part of The Sydney Institute Quarterly. In March 2009 Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch Dog blog commenced publication.

  • Stop Press: No Balance in 7.30’s Presentation of Treasurer’s Decision on Chinese Investment
  • Can You Bear It? On the Sermons by Paul Bongiorno & Andrew Denton
  • New Feature: On Media Self-Love: Featuring SBS The Feeds’ Self-Congratulatory Coverage of the Bill Leak Cartoon Affair & New Matilda’s Self-Praise for Its Higher Morality on Bill Leak
  • Derryn Hinch’s Bad Language
  • Five Paws Award: Step Forward Warren Mundine on the NSW Greyhound Purge & Barb on the Red Bandannaed One’s Latest (Expensive) Falsehood
  • Flann O’Brien’s Gong for Literary/Verbal Sludge: Scott Stephens Scores with Confused Rant on Olympics & Fascism
  • History Corner: Left Wing Intellectualism An Infantile Disorder – As Documented in Evan Jones’ Fine 1962 Poem Titled “A Mirror for the New Left”
  • Correspondence: The ABC’s Antony Green & Sally Jackson Help Out


Last night’s ABC TV’s 7.30 and Sky News’ Speers Tonight covered the decision by Treasurer Scott Morrison to block (temporarily at least) bids for Ausgrid’s New South Wales power assets from the Chinese government owned State Grid and the Hong Kong based Cheung Kong Infrastructure (CKI). Both decisions were made on national security grounds.

David Speers decided that Sky News viewers should hear different opinions on this issue. So he spoke with former NSW Labor premier Bob Carr who opposes the Scott Morrison decision. Mr Carr currently is Director of the Australia-China Relations Institute (ACRI) at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and is an articulate advocate of Australia-China trade and investment. Then David Speers spoke to Energy and Environment minister Josh Frydenberg who supported the Turnbull government’s decision. In other words, a range of opinions was heard on Speers Tonight.

Not so 7.30. It only heard criticism of the decision – from Bob Carr. No alternative view was canvassed. There are many qualified Australians who could have presented an alternative view. Including the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s Peter Jennings. If 7.30 was intent on hearing from former or present Labor politicians – it could have asked the likes of Michael Danby MP into the 7.30 studios.

The Ausgrid decision is an important one which will affect Australia-China relations in the short to medium term. 7.30’s response was to hear the views of only one side of the debate – from a strong supporter of the current China regime.


The Coalition has always regarded Channel 10’s contributing editor Paul Bongiorno as the Canberra journalist – outside of the ABC and SBS – most likely to run a Green/Left line. So it came as no surprise that, when Channel 10 scaled down Mr Bongiorno’s role, he soon found gigs at the taxpayer funded public broadcaster.

Including a report twice a week on the ABC Radio National Breakfast program. And so it has come to pass that the one-time Catholic priest uses the ABC to preach a secular sermon on the need to embrace such causes as an emissions trading scheme, same sex marriage, the need to increase revenue (rather than cutting expenditure) and the like.

Bonge seems to enjoy his regular chats with like-minded Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly. Like yesterday when – from his ABC pulpit – Bonge:

▪ described Fran Kelly’s questions to Commonwealth Bank CEO Ian Narev as “terrific” and “excellent”.

▪ said that Fran Kelly would make “a better interviewer than any of the members of the Parliament” who will be asking Mr Narev questions.

▪ advocated that the banking industry be examined by a Royal Commission.

▪ supported Labor’s call for a Senate inquiry into the problems with the 2016 Census.

▪ criticised the Coalition government for the problems associated with the Census which he claimed were due to a “funding cut”.

▪ asserted that the difficulties with the Census “goes to an undermining of the word of…the government of Australia”.

▪ called for a re-think of offshore detention for asylum seekers attempting to enter Australia declaring: “Fran, the time has come for a re-think here. The boats have stopped, that seems to have been what the Australian electorate wants, do you mean to tell me that bringing, what is it, up to 2000 people out of hell holes to Australia, will undermine all that? I don’t believe so. We need a re-think here, and we need to examine our consciences.”

▪ advocated that “we do need to restrain spending” but also “we do need to have people who can afford it, to pay some more tax”.

Last week (4 August 2016) Bonge urged the rapid introduction of same sex marriage without a plebiscite.

All the above Bonge “this I believe” positions are debatable. It’s just that Paul Bongiorno has chosen to be a preacher rather than a commentator. Moreover, his view is not balanced in the ABC’s Conservative Free Zone where there is not one conservative presenter, producer or editor on any of its prominent television, radio or online outlets. Can you bear it?


While on the topic of political pulpits, consider the case of Andrew Denton who appeared on Lateline on Wednesday following his address to the National Press Club in Canberra.

At the National Press Club Andrew Denton asserted that there is a “hidden theocracy” within Australia’s democracy. Somewhat hyperbolic, don’t you think?

Mr Denton used his conspiracy theory to explain why the Commonwealth Government overturned Northern Territory legislation aimed at introducing assisted dying in 1997. He blamed the Liberal Party’s Kevin Andrews and Labor’s Tony Burke whom he claimed were Catholics. But, as Tony Burke has pointed out, Labor Party MPs Lindsay Tanner and Barry Jones – who are not Catholics – also opposed the Northern Territory legislation at the time.

It was much the same when Andrew Denton was interviewed by Lateline co-presenter Emma Alberici on Wednesday. Your man Denton soon threw the switch to anti-Catholic sectarianism. Let’s go to the transcript:

Emma Alberici: In explaining why you thought Australia had been so reluctant to legislate assisted dying, you talk today about a hidden theocracy inside our democracy. What were you speaking about there?

Andrew Denton: Well I was referring in particular to how the Northern Territory Rights of the Terminally Ill Act was overturned in 1997. That was the first law anywhere in the world to assist terminally ill people to die and what a lot of people don’t know is campaign to do that, you may recall that the Federal Parliament repealed the right of territories to make these laws.

That campaign was run, as Michael Gordon from Fairfax reported at the time, in a completely subterranean manner by a largely Catholic group of politicians led by, in tandem, Kevin Andrews from the conservative Lyons Forum in the Liberal Party and rising Labor star, not at that time in Federal Parliament, Tony Burke, working together to run what Michael Gordon described as one of the most successful campaigns in modern Australian political history. And those forces largely Catholic, but not entirely, conservative and religious, are still capable of wielding great power in both political parties today.

So even though every public poll since that Northern Territory law was overturned shows overwhelming public support across genders, across political persuasions, across religious beliefs, including Catholic, for a law for assisted dying, our Parliaments don’t even debate it in any detail. They throw it out at the first or second round before it can get to committee.

In fact, there was nothing “subterranean” about the campaign to overturn the Northern Territory legislation two decades ago. It was widely reported in the media at the time. Moreover, many non-Catholic Christians, followers of other religions and atheists also opposed the legislation.

What’s more, Andrew Denton seems to believe that Catholics should cease being involved in the debate on social issues simply because they are Catholics. However, he does not believe that the members of the Rationalist Society should be silent on moral issues and he would never attempt to exclude Muslims from participating in the public debate. An unpleasant double standard, to be sure. Can you bear it?



It’s official. SBS’ The Feed’s parody of The Australian cartoonist Bill Leak was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. How do we know? Well, SBS told us so. That’s how.

First, some background. On 4 August 2016, The Australian ran a cartoon by Bill Leak – in which an Indigenous policeman returns an Indigenous boy to his irresponsible Indigenous father. This was a powerful cartoon with an important message concerning widespread child neglect within sections of the Northern Territory indigenous community.Bill-Leak-cartoon-1200x630-600x315

Needless to say, it was not long before the taxpayer subsidised leftist comedians, at the taxpayer subsidised SBS were condemning Bill Leak as racist. This is how SBS’s The Feed covered the matter in its “Talking Prejudice with Mark Humphries” segment on its Facebook page on 4 August 2016.

Mark Humphries: I’m Mark Humphries from SBS’s The Feed and I’m talking prejudice this week with Jeannette Francis. G’day Jan Fran.

Jeannette Francis: Hello Mark, always a pleasure to talk prejudice with you.

Mark Humphries: Now the first cartoon we’re looking at this week comes from one of our regulars here at “Talking Prejudice” – Bill Leak. He’s depicted some Indigenous Australians – got a police officer saying: “You’ll have to sit down and talk to your son about personal responsibility”

Jeannette Francis: And the man’s father says, “Yeah righto, what’s his name then?”

Mark Humphries: Yeah this is classic Leak. Right when we have a national discussion about race relations in this country, he launches in and says: “What if I drew an Aboriginal man drinking alcohol who doesn’t know his son’s name?”

Jeannette Francis: See with this cartoon, I didn’t laugh so hard I cried. I just went straight to the crying bit. And I think that that’s the genius of Bill Leak.

Mark Humphries: Yeah absolutely. And of course today is National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day – so great to see Bill getting into the spirit of things….

And so it went on. And on. Mark Humphries agreed with Jeannette Francis who agreed with Mark Humphries who agreed with himself that Bill Leak is a racist. But that was not all. Additional cartoons were shown – after which Jeannette Francis accused Bill Leak of believing that “All Muslims are terrorists”. Mark Humphries agreed – and added that Bill Leak is indifferent “to the destruction of the entire planet”. Oh yes. Mark H also described Bill Leak as “ignorant” while Jeannette F referred to his “irrationality”.

Then Mark H attacked Leak’s take on the so-called Safe Schools program with respect to transgender issues. Jeannette F then accused the cartoonist of being “a climate change sceptic and transphobic”. That’s all. Now, let’s go to the transcript for the conclusion of “Talking Prejudice”.

Mark Humphries: That’s what I love about Bill Leak – he’s going to insult all sides. Indigenous Australians, Muslim Australians, LGBTQI Australians. It doesn’t matter what minority you’re in, he’s going to try and bring you down.

Jeannette Francis: Yeah, and I think it’s fantastic that he’s got an avenue for these ideas at The Australian – because I think we know, no one else would publish this stuff.

Mark Humphries: Indeed. Well Jen, it’s been a great pleasure unpicking the work of Bill Leak with you. I’ll let you do the honours.

Jeannette Francis: Oh, I’ve always dreamt of saying this. Go f-ck yourself Bill.

How funny is that? Jeannette Francis told Bill Leak to “go f-ck” himself. What a hoot. The lady should be a comedian. [Er, she is – apparently – MWD Editor]. No mention was made of the fact that Bill Leak is in the tradition of great irreverent cartoonists and is also a fine painter.

Then it was back to “The Feed” where the presenters were Marc Fennell and – wait for it – Jeannette Francis. Here’s what they had to say:

Marc Fennell [laughing]: Honest to God. That needs to be a recurring segment. That amazing analysis from Jan Fran and Mark.

Jeannette Francis: Thank you so much.

How good is this? Marc said that both Jeannette and Mark were AMAZING. And Jeannette agreed. Amazing, to be sure.

Then, to give self-regard a real boost, SBS posted the following piece on its website on 5 August – the morning after the truly amazing night before of “Talking Prejudice”.

The Feed did the most sublime takedown of Bill Leak’s racist cartoon

By Stuff We Found

As you probably heard, regular cartoonist for The Australian Bill Leak caused (another) controversy yesterday with a drawing that was decried by many (anyone with a brain who saw it) as racist.

There were plenty of justifiably angry responses to the cartoon, and also to the fact that something that awful could be published in 2016. There were some from comedians, at a loss of how to deal with the consistent bulls*it that comes from Leak.

But sometimes someone comes up with the absolute best response, one that just hits the nail on the head perfectly. This time it was the gang at The Feed, who came up with a biting concept that was absolutely spot on in tone, demonstrated the travesty that is Bill Leak and the fact he is still being published, and also tore him to shreds for his bigoted cartoons on Indigenous, Muslim and LGBTQI issues.

The Feed presenters Mark Humphries and Jan Fran recorded a parody of ABC’s Insiders “Talking Pictures” segment, where Barry[sic] Cassidy has a guest on and they go over that week’s political cartoons. Mark and Jan flipped the segment and just recorded themselves discussing Bill Leak cartoons, labeling it “Talking Prejudice”. It’s simply brilliant.

Yeah, brilliant. Simply brilliant. For starters, SBS’s “Stuff We Found” does not know how to spell Barrie Cassidy’s first name. And does not know that Insiders’ “Talking Pictures” segment is presented by Michael Bowers, not Barrie Cassidy.

No matter. What was important is that SBS Comedy scored tops for self-regard. SBS described SBS’s “Talking Prejudice” as “sublime”, “absolute best”, “absolutely spot-on in tone” and “simply brilliant”.


While on the topic of media self-indulgence, did anyone read the official blog of New Matilda – “The Insider” – on Tuesday? It published a piece titled “Journalists, Writers, Academics Sign Open Letter Condemning Bill Leak Cartoon”. The 80 word statement read as follows:

We are journalists, writers, photographers, artists, publishers and others who work in the media and communications industries. Signatories also include journalism, media and communications researchers and academics.

We condemn The Australian’s publication of Bill Leak’s racist cartoon. Racism damages the health and wellbeing of those it targets. We acknowledge that the media industry has a long history of perpetuating harmful and racist stereotypes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and that it is well past time that this stops.

In other words, the signatories – who all happen to agree with each other on every word in an 80 words statement – want to censor Bill Leak from expressing his opinions in The Australian. This is how New Matilda’s “The Insider” reported the issue:

A group of 173 media and communications professionals have signed an open letter slamming The Australian newspaper for publishing a racist cartoon by Bill Leak, implying Aboriginal fathers are drunks who do not know their own children’s names.

Among the signatures are a number of prominent journalist and educators including Editor of the Koori Mail Rudi Maxwell, Meanjin editor Jonathan Green, Director of the Centre for Advancing Journalism Professor Margaret Simons, as well as Celeste Liddle, Dr Anita Heiss, Jenna Price, and Wendy Bacon. A number of New Matilda’s columnists have signed the letter, as well as Publisher and Editor Chris Graham.

Well done. How frightfully righteous. And so on.

And now for some facts. First, Bill Leak did not imply that all Aboriginal fathers are drunks who do not know their own children’s names. His cartoon was directed at a specific problem in a part of the Northern Territory. Second, New Matilda can’t count. At least one of the signatories signed the petition twice. Signatory No 37 is described as “Siobhan McHugh, writer, documentary-maker and Senior Lecturer in Journalism, University of Wollongong”. And Signatory Number 149 is described as “Dr Siobhan McHugh, University of Wollongong”. How about that?

As to the signatories, most are little known or virtually unknown. For the most part the signatories – “prominent” or otherwise – are made up of the usual leftist suspects. Such as Jonathan (“Proudly the ABC’s Sneerer-in-Chief”) Green, Melbourne University academics Professor Margaret Simons and Dr Gael Jennings along with such comrades as Wendy Bacon, Dr Simon Chapman (for a doctorate in sociology he has), Catherine Deveny, Jenna Price, Jeff Sparrow, Ben Eltham and Paul Daley. Even former Independent member for New England Rob Oakeshott signed up – pompously depicting himself as a “writer and author”. Really. Your man Oakeshott has written one piss-poor book about himself titled The Independent Member for Lyne.

“The Insider” report concluded as follows:

Last week, one company which runs advertising in The Australian criticised the cartoon and said it would be considering whether to return to the publication, while Suncorp Bank said it would remove advertising content.

Oh, there you go. According to New Matilda one unnamed company said it would consider “whether to return to the publication” – while Suncorp Bank was reported to have declared that “it would remove advertising content” from The Australian”. However, the Australian Financial Review’s “Rear Window” reported on Tuesday that no such decision has been made. This makes sense. Many of those who buy Suncorp Bank products are likely to read The Australian but are unlikely to subscribe to, say, New Matilda or the Green-Left Weekly. In any event, it’s good to know that the likes of Jonathan Green who call for Bill Leak to be censored feel good about their own holier-than-thou mentality.

manners maketh the canine nancy's courtesy class


Victorian senator-elect Derryn (“The Human Mumble”) Hinch has had an inauspicious commencement to his political career.

Addressing the Melbourne Press Club last Friday, your man Hinch declared that his priority in politics was to remove Section 18(c) of the Racial Discrimination Act – which prohibits the use of language which may offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people.

The problem for Derryn Hinch is that his proposal is not only opposed by the Coalition government plus the Labor opposition and the Greens but also by the three Nick Xenophon Team senators. In other words, The Human Mumble’s proposal has not got a chance in hell of winning support in the Senate – and still less chance in the House of Representatives.

It seems that The Human Mumble was up to his incoherent best – or worst – when addressing his former journalist colleagues at the Melbourne Press Cub on Friday 5 August 2016. Here is what he had to say about senator-elect Pauline Hanson – the head of the Pauline Hanson One Nation Party:

Derryn Hinch: I don’t agree with um with Pauline Han- I don’t agree with a lot of Pauline Hanson says. Um, I don’t agree with her, her crazy idea about sacking the Family Court and getting rid of them – having some community. It’s unconstitutional anyway. She’s full of shit, don’t talk about it. Anyway, um –

Anyway, um. Mr Hinch should be aware that it is discourteous to describe someone as “full of shit”. MWD recommends that The Human Mumble attends Nancy’s Courtesy Classes where – if he pays attention – he will learn that abuse is not an excuse for argument.

[I note that Mr Hinch never had the intellectual courage to invite Gerard Henderson on to his Sky News’ program Hinch Live to defend himself. I wonder whether the gutless wonder will adopt similar practices in the Senate by criticising individuals who have no capacity to defend themselves in the same forum. – MWD Editor]

five paws graphic

Due to overwhelming popular demand, Nancy’s hugely popular segment returns to MWD this week after what journalists like to call a Well Earned Break. And the winners are Warren Mundine and Barb.


Warren Mundine scores this week for his “Dogs of War” article in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph. Nyunggai Warren Mundine AO, who chairs the Yaabubiin Institute for Disruptive Thinking, criticised the decision by the Coalition government in NSW to close down the greyhound racing industry. In particular, he focused on the argument, for want of a better word, that the greyhound racing industry has lost its “social licence”:

Killing an animal, per se, is not illegal or cruel, if done humanely, according to accepted standards. Most Australians agree. But the report [to the NSW government] says it’s irrelevant if wastage is legal. It’s about “ethical and moral considerations”. Industries only have a “social licence” to operate with “ongoing approval of the community and other stakeholders”.

Perhaps food trumps pets who trump sport. Perhaps greyhounds trump horses and cats. Are animals worthier than someone’s livelihood? Who adjudicates these ethical rankings? And who are the “community and other stakeholders”. Majority rule? MPs? Social media? What happens if people in Grafton approve of an industry people in Manly don’t?

Here “social licence” is code for class bigotry. Only complete disregard (at best) or sneering disdain (at worst) for working-class people explains banning greyhound racing but nothing else. Government is looking down its nose at working-class people and acting inconsistently — treating the poor man’s thoroughbred differently from the rich man’s.

Nancy’s (male) co-owner vehemently opposes cruelty to animals. But he and Nancy know that some thoroughbred race horses end up in dog-meat cans. And, so far at least, few are saying that the horse-racing industry does not have a social licence. It’s just the dish-lickers who are being targeted.

Warren Mundine: Five Paws


Here is Barb’s tweet following the news (as reported in yesterday’s Australian) that Fairfax Media has had to pay damages for a defamatory comment written by its “star” columnist Peter FitzSimons – otherwise known as the Red Bandannaed One:

barb babsnation tweet re fitz

Fairfax Media’s $300,000 defamation loss does not cover legal costs. They are likely to be high – especially since it’s probable that Fairfax Media will have to pick up the costs for the plaintiff as well as itself.

Barb: Five Paws

* * * *

This reminds MWD that Peter FitzSimons has yet to claim MWD’s $20,000 payment to the Australian Republican Movement if he can provide the address of the “$30 million mansion in Rome” in which, Fitz maintains, Cardinal George Pell resides.

Needless to say, The Red Bandannaed One just made this story up. But neither he nor Fairfax Media editors Darren Goodsir and Stuart Washington will correct the howler in “The Fitz Files” of 24 May 2015.


[table id=39 /]


As avid MWD readers will be aware, this segment is inspired by the Irish humourist Brian O’Nolan — nom de plume Flann O’Brien, (1911-1966) — and, in particular, his critique of the sometimes incoherent poet Ezra Pound. The Flann O’Brien Gong for Literary or Verbal Sludge is devoted to outing bad writing, incomprehensible prose and incoherent verbal expression

Now consider the case of ABC Radio National’s Scott Stephens who had this to say about the Olympic Games on The Minefield on 4 August 2016. Hendo listened to the replay at the weekend while walking Nancy. However, Nancy, who is deaf, did not hear Mr Stephens’s verbal sludge. Lucky Nancy. Let’s go to the transcript where Scott Stephens advances the view that countries which take sport seriously are – wait for it – fascist or fascistic.

Scott Stephens: One of the things that this does highlight for me and you know it is worth pointing out, putting my philosophical hat on, that the Olympics and Greek philosophy were both founded at the same time in the same era with, to some extent, mutually reinforcing effects. And so there was a kind of pursuit of the perfection of the human body, of excellence in mind, in body and in soul. But even more than that, one of the crucial ideas behind the Olympics originally – was that this was meant to be a form of war by other means.

This was a means of both projecting and achieving national honour and derivatively individual honour – individual rank – over and against other nations. Now here’s the, here I suppose, the point then that I’d want to make. This idea of ranking and of achieving rank either through war or through acquisition of medals or through, and if we think about, say, the political heyday of the Olympics between, say, 1960 and say 1988 when the Olympic games really were rather politically overdetermined events or at least to some extent a stage a kind of stage upon which political theatre was being potentially enacted. I think one of the problems for me are the ways in which rank, nationalism and what I can only call a kind of fascistic chauvinism end up getting muddled all together. So that the pursuit of rank over and against one’s opponents then becomes one of the few and I think one of the more unhealthy ways within which kind of patriotic pride, within which even a kind fascist impulse.

I mean there are only two places in this world where we see people marching behind flags over and against a sort of a, you know, a mesmerised audience – and that would have been in Italy, Germany and in Olympic stadiums. So I think one of the things we do have to watch is the way in which competition as a kind of mass spectacle lends itself, feeds itself into this kind of fascistic or chauvinistic impulse. And is that really then, if this is one of the ways that we define ourselves if this is one of the central spectacles that we gather around and define ourselves as a people, is this really one of the paradigms that we want to be holding up. Is this really one of the ways that we want to be defining ourselves over and against other people? And I’ve got profound concerns that it is in fact.

What a load of absolute tosh. The loquacious Stephens seems to believe that nationalism and sport were only linked under the Italian and German fascist regimes headed by Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler respectively. Your man Stephens seems ignorant of the link between nationalism and sport which has prevailed in the communist regimes of the Soviet Union, East Germany, plus China and North Korea.

Scott Stephens went on to state:

Scott Stephens: I mean, one is the mass gathering around celebrations of strength which bears along with it the inevitable temptation of a kind of degradation or contempt for weakness. I mean, that for me is at the heart of fascism. Nationalism is only if you like an effect, an accident at its heart there is this celebration, this mass gathering around strength and there is a corresponding contempt for weakness.

So, according to SS, contempt for weakness is at the heart of fascism. But not, apparently, at the heart of – say – communism. And Scott Stephens gets paid by the taxpayer to deliver such ahistorical verbal sludge on The Minefield.

Literary Criticism

By Flann O’Brien

of Ezra Pound

My grasp of what he wrote and meant

Was only five or six %

The rest was only words and sound —

My reference is to Ezra £

Inspired by your man O’Brien, this is Nancy’s literary effort for today:

Literary Criticism

By Nancy

of Scott Stephens

My grasp of what Scott said or meant

Was only five or six per cent

The rest like gas from a fuel tank

It truly was a pompous wank

Nancy Ezra MWD 116

History Corner


That was an interesting piece in The Jerusalem Post on 2 August 2016 by Seth J. Frantzman titled “Why Western Leftists Adore Right Wing Religious Extremists Abroad”. Dr Frantzman addressed the following apparent contradiction:

Large numbers of commentators and intellectuals associated with the “Left” in the West have, for over 100 years, continually allied themselves with totalitarian, extremist, thuggish, populist, militarist, extreme right-wing, religious fanatical regimes and movements abroad. Whether it was George Bernard Shaw touring and apologizing for Stalin’s Russia, or Noam Chomsky claiming refugees from the Cambodian genocide were “unreliable” and that “massacre reports were false,” there is a long tradition of mitigating the kinds of crimes abroad people would never excuse at home.

Seth J. Frantzman’s article reminded MWD of a poem published in the 1962 issue of Melbourne University Magazine (MUM) by the academic and poet Evan Jones (born 1931). It was titled: “A Mirror for the New Left (for ___, who wrote the best lines)”.

Evan Jones did not name his subject. But it could have been one of the thousands of intellectuals who joined the Communist Party in the 1930s and 1940s and who went along with Joe Stalin’s purges, the forced famine in Ukraine, the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939-41 (including the incorporation of the Baltic States into the Soviet Union), the enslavement of Eastern Europe after 1945, the suppression of the East German uprising of 1953, the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956 and more besides.

Here’s how Evan Jones viewed the wealthy and well-educated communists of his day, who defended the oppression of dissent and persecution of minorities under the dictatorship of Stalin’s heirs in Moscow while expressing progressive views about politics at home:

A Mirror for the New Left

(for – , who wrote the best lines)

[table id=40 /]


correspondence header caps

This overwhelmingly popular segment of Media Watch Dog usually works like this. Someone or other thinks it would be a you-beaut idea to write to Nancy’s (male) co-owner about something or other. And Hendo, being a courteous and well-brought up kind of guy, replies. Then, hey presto, the correspondence is published in MWD – much to the delight of its readers.

There are occasions, however, when Nancy’s (male) co-owner decides to write a polite note to someone or other – who, in turn, believes that a reply is in order. Publication in MWD invariably follows. There are, alas, some occasions where Hendo sends a polite missive but does not receive the courtesy of a reply. Nevertheless, publication of this one-sided correspondence still takes place. For the record and in the public interest, of course.

As MWD readers are aware, The Guardian Australia’s deputy editor Katharine Murphy put out the following tweet on 6 June 2014 at 4.33 pm – when that issue of MWD was “hot off the press”. Here is Ms Murphy’s tweet: “Without in any way wanting to breach anyone’s human rights or free speech – why do people write emails to Gerard Henderson?” It’s a very good question. Thankfully, not everyone follows Katharine Murphy’s wise counsel – not even Ms Murphy herself (See MWD Issue 297).


The promised plebiscite on what is called same sex marriage has created additional attention about the plebiscites on conscription for overseas service during the First World War – in October 1916 and December 1917. This led to correspondence between the ABC’s election analyst, Antony Green, and Gerard Henderson.

Antony Green to Gerard Henderson – 1 August 2016


In the Media Watch Dog on Friday you wrote about the 1916 conscription vote needing the constitutional double majority to pass. To quote

The October 1916 plebiscite obtained an overall minority of 72,476 votes (48.39 per cent) for “Yes” – along with a majority in only three States (Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania). For the plebiscite to be successful in 1916, an overall majority along with a majority of votes in a majority (i.e. four) of States would have been required.

I’m certain this is not correct. The Military Service Referendum Act 1916 only required that the writ be returned with the number of Yes and No votes for the Commonwealth. That differed from the Referendum Act of the day covering constitutional referendums that required the writ be returned with the Yes and No votes by state and for the Commonwealth as a whole.

The results have always been published by state, but I’m certain the 1916 referendum didn’t need the double majority.

If I’m wrong on this, it has some relevance for the same sex marriage plebiscite. To the best of my knowledge there has not been a special majority required for an Australian plebiscite vote since the 1898 federation vote in NSW.



Antony Green

Election Analyst


Gerard Henderson to Antony Green – 11 August 2016


Thanks for your email of 1 August 2016 concerning the 1916 and 1917 conscription plebiscites. Apologies for the delay in formally responding but I have been very busy of late.

I acknowledge that there was an error in my Media Watch Dog blog on 29 July 2016.

I focused on the state-by-state result since I was making a point about the result of the plebiscite in Victoria – where Archbishop Daniel Mannix was resident. It is true that the votes in the States were indicative only and unrelated to the outcome of the plebiscites.

In Australian Federal Politics and Law (MUP, 1956), Geoffrey Sawer wrote that the 1916 plebiscite was “narrowly defeated by a “No” majority of 72,476 in a poll of 2,247,590”. In The Story of Conscription in Australia (Allen & Unwin, 1935), Leslie C. Jauncey wrote that “the referendum[sic] was decided on a majority vote of the total poll”. And in Australia During The War (Angus & Robertson, 1936), Ernest Scott wrote that “the final figures gave a ‘No’ majority of 72,476”.

As you know, the number of votes recorded in each state was announced with the result.

Best wishes


Gerard Henderson


As avid readers will recall, during Q&A on 18 July 2016 presenter Tony Jones stated that there were “Croatian Catholic extremist” terrorists operating in Australia in the 1970s. It seems that Mr Jones was referring to the early and mid part of that decade. According to both Tony Jones and the ABC spokesperson Sally Jackson, there is a document from 1973 which supports Tony Jones’ case – but neither has been able to supply a copy of the full document in question.

The following correspondence demonstrates how difficult it can be to get information from the ABC. The deletions in the published emails are due to the fact that matters other than material relating to the Q&A presenter’s views on “Croatian Catholics” have been deleted.

The good news is that Gerard Henderson has now identified the document and is in the process of obtaining a copy per courtesy of the National Library of Australia’s efficient staff. This will be analysed in next Friday’s MWD. In the meantime, there is this correspondence.

Gerard Henderson to Sally Jackson – 28 July 2016


I know how busy you are, but I would be grateful if someone at the ABC could answer the following questions:

On 19 July, SBS News quoted an ABC spokesperson as saying that evidence for the claim made by Tony Jones on Q&A concerning “Croatian Catholic extremist” terrorists operating in Australia “in the 1970s” could be found in the “Hansard of the time”. I understand, according to Crikey, that Mr Jones has offered to send a complainant “the relevant Senate Hansard of April 1973”.

It would be unusual at the time for documents of this kind to be published in Hansard – normally they were placed in the Tables Office. In any event, I would be grateful if either you or Mr Jones would advise me how I could access this material….

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

Sally Jackson to Gerard Henderson – 28 July 2016

Hi Gerard.

…Re the Hansard: Tony Jones is away at the moment, as you will have noticed, and I can’t contact him until maybe tomorrow. In the meantime, this is a link that could possibly assist you, although it isn’t specifically what Tony was referring to. [The reference was to an unsourced online document titled “Terrorism in the nineties: issues and problems”.]



Sally Jackson

Media manager ABC News & Current Affairs

Gerard Henderson to Sally Jackson – 28 July 2016


Thanks for your note. My responses are as follows – in the order my initial queries were made.

I am surprised that the ABC is currently not able to provide documentation in support of Tony Jones’ claim on Q&A. Especially since an ABC spokesman told Crikey (25 July) that the ABC “could send…the relevant Senate Hansard of April 1973” which (apparently) contains this material. Also, an ABC spokesperson told SBS News (19 July) that the ABC has access to the relevant Hansard references. Are you suggesting that this information, which was said to be in the hands of the ABC, has been mislaid in recent days?

As you acknowledge, the material that you sent me does not support what Tony Jones said about “Croatian Catholics” on Q&A….

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

Sally Jackson to Gerard Henderson – 28 July 2016

Hi Gerard. The Crikey report in fact quotes Mr Jones as saying he has the reference. It does not quote an ABC spokesman anywhere at all.

Gerard Henderson to Sally Jackson – 28 July 2016


I accept that re Crikey. However an ABC spokesperson told SBS News on 16 July that it was aware of the references in Hansard to which Tony Jones now refers. Presumably the ABC spokesperson had access to these documents at the time.

If they turn up, I’d be grateful if you can send them to me – since I cannot locate any documents within Hansard itself.


Gerard Henderson to Sally Jackson – 4 August 2016


I am following up our recent correspondence concerning Tony Jones’ claim on Q&A that there were “Croatian Catholic extremist” terrorists operating in Australia “in the 1970s”.

As you are aware, an ABC spokesperson (could it have been you?) provided the following comment to SBS News on 19 July:

His [Tony Jones’] comment referred to the well documented activities in the 1960s and 1970s of other Croatian nationalists belonging to organisations designated as “extremist” by the Australian Government and police and security agencies. The references for this include Hansard of the time.

[Note the use of the word “other” excluded the Croatian Six case of 1979.]

I have previously pointed out that, according to my research, there was no such material incorporated into Hansard in 1973 – contrary to what Tony Jones told a correspondent. However, it is likely that some documents on this matter were tabled in the Senate in 1973 by the Attorney-General Senator Lionel Murphy. Such documents at the time were filed in the Tables Office.

I would be grateful if you could advise – by close of business today – whether Tony Jones has located the reference to which he has referred and whether you or he can provide me with a copy of the documents.

As you know, the reference to which you drew my attention on 28 July does not support Mr Jones’ Q&A claim.

Over to you.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson

Sally Jackson to Gerard Henderson – 4 August 2016

Hi Gerard. I understand that the document referred to is the Official Hansard Report of the Select Committee on Civil Rights of Migrant Australians, Canberra, Friday 24 August, 1973. The witness at the hearing is the then Commissioner of the Commonwealth Police Force Jack Mervyn Davis. In particular see the tabled document entitled “Incidents Within The Yugoslav Community, 1963-1973”. It can be found in the Hansard beginning at page 439.



Sally Jackson

Media manager ABC News & Current Affairs

Gerard Henderson to Sally Jackson – 4 August 2016


It’s all a bit confusing. There is no such thing as the “Official Hansard Report of the Select Committee on Civil Rights of Migrant Australians, Canberra, Friday 24 August, 1973”.

I assume this should be a reference to the “Senate Select Committee on Civil Rights of Migrant Australians”. At the time, Hansard invariably referred to Parliament Debates within both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Perhaps the easiest thing to do is to send me what you claim is the report “in the Hansard beginning at page 439″ as a link.

Best wishes


Sally Jackson to Gerard Henderson – 4 August 2016

Hi Gerard, sorry you’re confused. I don’t have a link but I have attached some scans which I hope can help you. [The reference was to a difficult to read scan from Pages 439 to 442 of an unsourced document].



Gerard Henderson to Sally Jackson – 4 August 2016


I am not at all confused.

As I said, you were obviously referring to the Senate Select Committee on Civil Rights of Migrant Australians. In other words, it was a Senate Committee. Hansard commonly refers to debates within the Senate or the House along with material incorporated into Hansard by senators or members.

It is not clear precisely what this document is or who it is written by. I would like to see the full document and I would be grateful if you can provide this as Tony Jones has implied that he possesses it. Contrary to Mr Jones’ earlier claim this document is not in Hansard where it could be readily accessed.

Best wishes


Sally Jackson to Gerard Henderson – 4 August 2016

Hi Gerard. Hansard is the name given to the edited transcripts of debates in the Senate, House of Representatives, Federation Chamber and parliamentary committees. I’m told the document was tabled by the then Commissioner of the Commonwealth Police Force Jack Mervyn Davis as part of his full evidence. I’ll leave your further inquiries to you.



Gerard Henderson to Sally Jackson – 11 August 2016


I refer to your email of 4 August 2016

In case others make enquiries about Tony Jones’ (alleged) “Croatian Catholic extremist” terrorists operating in Australia in the 1970s – the title of the document to which you referred was incorrect.

The correct title is Senate Select Committee On Civil Rights Of Migrant Australians, Canberra, Friday 24 April 1973 (Official Hansard Report).

I just thought you would like to know this. By the way, I have ordered a copy of the document.

Best wishes

Gerard Henderson AC (aka Always Courteous)

Sally Jackson to Gerard Henderson – 11 August 2016

Hi Gerard.

Thanks for that.



* * * * *

Until next time.

If Gerard Henderson is on #insiders tomorrow I’m going to start drinking at 9.01 am

– @annalise108 via Twitter, 30 Jul 2016, 6:30 PM

“[Gerard Henderson is a] whining rodent”

– Bruce Haigh, former diplomat and regular ABC panelist

“[Gerard Henderson is a] cretinous turd”

– Rohan Connolly via Twitter – 12 July 2016

“It’s always nice to be mentioned in your pedantic, predictable and self-absorbed Friday web rant”

– Stephen Mayne, via email, Bastille Day, 2016

My oh my. Poor, blithering Gerard “Gollum” Henderson will be incandescent with rage after that Media Watch. The silly prick.

Mike Carlton via Twitter, 15 Feb 2016, 9:44 PM

Gerard: You are hopeless…

– David Marr, 12 February 2016

ABC is a weakened and flawed institution for sure but it is a vital balance to ranting prejudices of Gerard Henderson’s boss@rupertmurdoch

Quentin Dempster via Twitter, 10 Jan 2016,

Poor mad Gerard is obsessed. I expect he had an unhappy childhood, always the last to be chosen…

Mike Carlton via Twitter, 25 Oct 2015, 3:27 AM

Sometimes I think of Gerard Henderson like a Japanese holdout, lost in the jungles of Borneo, still fighting the war 20 years after it ended

– Erik Jensen,via Twitter, 16 Oct 2015, 4:50 PM

Gérard Henderson brain missing. Small reward

– Phillip Adams, via Twitter, 10 Oct 2015, 11:16 AM

I’ve been shot at by the Viet Cong. I once met Gerard Henderson. I can take any shit thrown at me…

Mike Carlton via Twitter, 9:22 PM – 9 Sep 2015

Gerard. You are an idiot #insiders

Bevan Shields via Twitter, 9:46 AM, 23 August 2015

“[Gerard Henderson is a] professional filing cabinet”

– Leftist scribbler Jeff Sparrow, Crikey, 13 August 2015

Leaving the house to avoid listening to GHenderson on @774melbourne

– Jonathan Green via Twitter, 31 July 2015

“gerard henderson trending on twitter, omg [looks out window, where the sun is eclipsed and the sky blood-red] oh yeah that makes sense”

– Adam Brereton via Twitter, 31 July 2015

Gerard Henderson on @891adelaide right now & I find myself shouting at my radio. What a morning”

– Louise Pascale via Twitter, 31 July 2015

“oh hell why is Gerard Henderson trending? Has boredom become the new black.”

– MNihilon via Twitter, 31 July 2015

Told I made the late Gerard Henderson’s little blog today. Read it. What a rancorous, nauseating, humourless little turd he is.

– Mike Carlton via Twitter during Gin & Tonic Time on 12 June 2015.

“On Sunday before Insiders…I was giving you a rich and full account of what a weird shit I think you are…”

– David Marr to Gerard Henderson, 1 June 2015

To #swf2015 this morning. Sunlit harbour, fabulous crowds radiating civility. And no Gerard Henderson ! It doesn’t get any better.

– Mike Carlton, via Twitter, 1:48 PM – 21 May 2015

Gerard Henderson’s friday self-harm update is here

– Adam Brereton, via Twitter, May 15, 2015

[Gerard Henderson’s Media Watch Dog is] batshit mad.

– Guy Rundle in Crikey, 14 May 2015:

I’m in the sort of mood that if I saw Gerard Henderson in the street I’d hit him with his own umbrella

– Ben Pobjie, via Twitter, 8 May 2015

It’s a glorious day when Gerard Henderson has a go at you

– Adam Gartrell, via Twitter, 8 May 2015

Meeting of Gerard Henderson Appreciation Society tonight Sydney Opera House phone booth

– Phillip Adams, via Twitter, 28 April 2015, 1.36 pm (after lunch).

“Gerard’s condescension levels high on #insiders this morning”

– Lenore Taylor, via Twitter, 22 February 2015

“Gerard Henderson and David Marr are on #Insiders this week. Like a political Felix and Oscar.”

– Mark Scott via Twitter 19 February 2015 at 1.10 pm

“I once called Gerard Henderson `a complete f%^wit’. I deeply regret that. I was being much too harsh on f%^wits.”

– Malcolm Farr via Twitter 14 February 2015 at 10:14 am

Oh Gerard. You total clown.”

– Jonathan (“Proudly the ABC’s Sneerer-in-Chief”) Green on Twitter, Friday 3 October 2014, 4.31 pm [Mr Green must be an obsessive avid reader to respond so soon. – Ed]

“Good morning. All the gooder for being attacked (for thousandth time) by silly Gerard in the Oz”

– Phillip Adams via Twitter, 27 September 2014

“What troubles me most is that he [Gerard Henderson] shows such low journalistic standards, yet he is politically quite influential. He is often on Insiders. It’s hard to see why: he comes across as a crank.”

– Kate Durham as told to Crikey, 16 September 2014

“The unhinged but well spoken Gerard Henderson….”

– Bob Ellis, Table Talk blog, 10 August 2014

“Gerard Henderson and Nancy are awful human beings.”

– Alexander White, Twitter, 25 July 2014

“This is my regularly scheduled “Oh Gerard” tweet for every time he appears on #insiders”

– Josh Taylor, senior journalist for ZDNet, Twitter, 20 July 2014

“…that fu-kwitted Gerard “Gollum” Henderson….”

– Mike (“I’ll pour the gin”) Carlton, via Twitter, 12 July 2014

“[Gerard Henderson is a] silly prick”

– Mike (“I’ll pour the gin”) Carlton – tweeted Saturday 27 June 2014 at 4.15 pm, i.e. after lunch

“If Gerard Henderson had run Beria’s public relations Stalin’s death would have been hidden for a year and Nikita [Khrushchev] and co would have been shot”

– Laurie Ferguson via Twitter – 22 June 2014 [By-line: Mr Ferguson is a member of the House of Representatives who speaks in riddles.]

“[Gerard Henderson] is the Eeyore of Australian public life”

– Mike Seccombe in The [Boring] Saturday Paper – 21 June 2014

“Without in any way wanting to breach anyone’s human rights or free speech – why do people write emails to Gerard Henderson?”

– Katharine Murphy, Twitter, Friday 6 June 2014

“[Gerard Henderson is] an unhinged prick”

– Mike Carlton, Twitter, Thursday 12 June 2014

“There’s no sense that Gerard Henderson has any literary credentials at all.”

– Anonymous comment quoted, highlighted and presumably endorsed by Jason (“I’m a left-leaning luvvie”) Steger, The Age, 31 May 2014

On boyfriend’s insistence, watching the notorious Gerard Henderson/@Kate_McClymont Lateline segment. GH: What an odd, angry gnome of a man.

– Benjamin Law, via Twitter, Thursday 17 Apr 2014, 11:21 pm

Can’t believe I just spent my Thursday evening with a video recap of Gerard Henderson. I’m a f-cking moron.

– Benjamin Law, via Twitter, Thursday 17 Apr 2014, 11:23 pm

“[Gerard Henderson is an] unhinged crank”

– Mike Carlton, via Twitter, Saturday 29 March 2014, 4.34 pm

Complete stranger comes up to me: that Gerard Henderson’s a xxxxxx.

– Jonathan Green via Twitter, 8 February 2014